In a major breakthrough, the Kolkata Police on Monday arrested six top operatives of the Jamaat-Ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). Reports indicate that the arrests have foiled the JMB’s plans to carry out terror attacks in Bengal and Assam. Among the six accused, five were reportedly involved in the bomb blast that took place two years ago in Burdwan district. JMB's Bengal unit chief Anwar Hussain Farukh alias Inam and the organisation's number two in India Maulana Yusuf were among the prized catches. There are international ramifications to these arrests, as both Yusuf and Inam have cases registered against them for their role in the terror attack at an upscale café in Dhaka. Bangladeshi officials had earlier passed on intelligence that money and arms for the July 22 attack were routed through India.
Zahidul Islam, another JMB operative nabbed by the Kolkata Police in the latest spate of arrests, is also suspected to have ties with the Islamic State. The terror outfit has also been known to carry out brutal attacks on atheists and other religious minorities in Bangladesh. Investigators believe that these operatives had fled to Bangladesh following the Burdwan blast in 2014 in which two suspected JMB terrorists were killed.
Both the National Investigation Agency and Kolkata CID had turned up the heat after a huge cache of explosives and various devices required to make bombs were recovered from the blast site. The Kolkata Police’s Special task Force should be credited for preventing another attempt by these operatives to regroup after two years had elapsed. Officials, however, told the press that while the arrests have neutralised JMB's modules in Bengal and Assam, its south Indian module is still active. The India-Bangladesh border is known to be very porous. Terror groups like the JMB and IS have spread their influence across both India and Bangladesh.
Moreover, the military and intelligence establishment in Pakistan continues to support and finance terror groups in India and Bangladesh to fulfill their strategic objectives. Given these circumstances, New Delhi must reach out to Dhaka and offer all assistance, both in terms of intelligence and equipment. At stake here is the security of two fellow nations in South Asia. Following the Burdwan blast, a probe by the NIA had reportedly unearthed a vast JMB terror network that had spread its tentacles across certain eastern Indian states. It was during Khaleda Zia's tenure that Bangladesh witnessed the rise of the JMB on its soil, despite constant denials by her regime.
The arrest of key JMB leaders back in 2010 by Bangladeshi authorities had also proven beyond doubt that a close relationship existed between Zia’s political allies, the Jamaat and the JMB. To the uninitiated, the JMB’s aim is to replace the democratically-elected government of Bangladesh with an Islamic state based on Sharia law. The organisation is modeled on the Afghan Taliban. Its chief has been quoted as stating that "our model includes many leaders and scholars of Islam. But we will take as much (ideology) from the Taliban as we need." However, since the Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League took office in 2009, Dhaka has taken stringent action against the terror group and its affiliates. The Awami League, led by Sheikh Hasina, declares itself to be a secular party that seeks to protect the rights of minorities.